|A view at the export forum in HCM City. The participants discuss solutions to meet the demand of importing countries. — Photo hochiminhcity.gov.vn
HCM CITY (VNS) — Japan, Indonesia, India, and countries in Africa and Latin America import lots of products, but Vietnamese firms need to study them carefully to export to them, a conference heard in HCM City yesterday.
They also need to focus on improving quality to meet the demands in importing countries, according to attendees at the Export Forum.
Nakajima Satoshi, the Japanese consul in HCM City, said there was plenty of demand for farm produce and seafood in his country.
But to export there, Vietnamese companies had to strictly follow its quality, hygiene, and safety requirements, he said.
Bui Trung Thuong of the Viet Nam Trade Office in India said trade between the two countries had risen sharply in recent years but remained low compared to the potential.
The Indian Government annually adjusted its trade policy and so Vietnamese exporters should monitor it, he said.
"Indian consumption habits are quite different from that of Viet Nam, and companies should study them to export appropriate products to the market."
Others spoke about the pros and cons of exporting to Indonesia, France, Russia, Latin America, and Africa.
Indonesia, the biggest economy in ASEAN and with a population of 250 million, has huge demand for goods and offers Vietnamese firms a good opportunity to boost exports, according to Le Hong Minh of the Viet Nam Trade Office in Indonesia.
But exporting to the market is complicated, requiring many kinds of licences, and firms need to understand its regulations.
Latin American countries also have similar demand for consumer goods, but the lack of market information, high transport costs, fierce competition with Chinese and Indian goods, and trade barriers in some markets in the former are among difficulties Vietnamese firms could face, Tran Duy Dong, deputy head of the America Market Department, said.
More effort should be made to provide Vietnamese exporters more information about these markets, he said.
Delegates said businesses should take part in foreign trade fairs and exhibitions to do market research and look for new business partners.
Minh said they should also invest in improving their design and packaging.
Free trade agreements the country has signed or plans to sign offered great opportunities for Vietnamese firms to boost exports, attendees said.
Guillaume Crouzet, director of the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Viet Nam, said, "Trade between the EU and Viet Nam will be boosted by the FTA under discussion."
Delegates urged Vietnamese companies to reform export-promotion activities and do research on customer preferences.
While focusing on exports, local firms should not ignore the domestic market either, Tran Du Lich, member of the National Assembly's Economic Commission, said.
"A product looking to compete in foreign markets must firstly be competitive in the domestic market both in terms of quality and price," he said.
The problem now is not that what products are to be exported, but how to create differentiation of products to improve competitiveness, he said, adding that this is a challenge to Vietnamese firms trying to expand exports.
They should diversify exports to five key markets — the US, EU, ASEAN, Japan, and China — he said.
They should continue to try and expand market share but not to excessive levels in any market because that would then prompt the importing country to erect barriers such as anti-dumping duties to protect local production, he warned.
The forum was organised by the Investment and Trade Promotion Centre of HCM City.
According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, despite many difficulties Viet Nam's exports grew at 14.1 per cent in the first eight months of the year, reaching US$96.98 billion.
The ministry promised to keep a close watch on the global economic situation and provide information about export opportunities. — VNS